HiRISE Images Phoenix Lander Hardware on Mars


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The HiRISE camera has acquired this image of the Phoenix landing site 22 hours after landing.

The image shows 3 unusual features, which were not present in the earlier HiRISE image PSP_007853_2485. We expect to find 3 main pieces of hardware: the parachute attached to the backshell, the heat shield, and the lander itself.

The parachute (lower left) is easy to identify because it is especially bright and the backshell is still attached to the parachute cords. The double dark marking at right seems most consistent with disturbance of the ground from impact and bouncing of the heat shield, which fell from a height of about 10 kilometers. The last object (upper left) is the Phoenix Lander whose two solar panels on either side of the lander are clearly visible.

This image was acquired on the ascending node of the orbit making it about 3:00PM local time on the surface. The rest of the HiRISE observation shows a cloud free day for Phoenix Lander operations.

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